The Lions Club is an international community service organization that was founded in Chicago in 1917 with the motto, “we serve.” The Lions Club chapter in Jackson was founded in 1927 and is known for producing three annual community events: Dandelion Days in March, the Independence Day fireworks show on July 3, and the Halloween Parade.

Since late August, plans have been underway for Main Street Jackson to hold its annual Halloween events within the parameters set by the current public health emergency. The Jackson chapter of the Lions Club wanted to continue the Halloween Parade, which has been a tradition on Main Street since 1965. It was up to parade chair Tim Knittel to come up with a new format to make it happen.

A Natural Choice

In 2013, Knittel and his wife, Mariela, moved to Amador County to be near family and start building his practice as an Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Tim and Mariela have three young children and he serves the community from his Edward Jones branch office in Ione.

Knittel was invited to join the Jackson chapter of the Lions club a few years ago, and he’s now in his third year as a member. With a young family, it made sense that Knittel was tapped as assistant chair of the parade in 2019 and become the new chair this year…just in time for the pandemic to require a complete rethink.

The goal of this year’s parade, Knittel said, is to give kids and families a place to go for Halloween. “It’s a different set up this year,” he added, “but the point is that we had to be innovative and make adjustments to keep the tradition going.” Knittel also consulted with Dr. Rita Kerr, the Amador County Health Officer.

Knittel and his parade committee came up with the idea of conducting a drive-through parade on Main Street to keep everyone safe in their cars and not mingle with everyone else. However, Dr. Kerr emphasized to Knittel that there was one important caveat: people in one immediate household can only ride in the cars. You can’t have groups of friends pile into a car and increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.

The Details

With that in mind, Knittel worked with the Jackson Police Department to create a parade route through the city shown below. People can drive their cars to Court Street and Highway 88 anytime between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 31.

The parade route takes the cars to the staging area in the parking lot behind the old courthouse on Court Street. Lions Club members will act as traffic directors for the parade. At the staging area, Lions Club members will give a bag of candy to each child in the car. Grocery Outlet Bargain Market donated candy for all the bags.

Jackson Halloween Parade Map

All cars will proceed south on Summit Street to Water Street, take a right on Water Street, and then stop at the National Hotel for judging. If you plan to participate in the parade, be sure to decorate your car for Halloween as the Lions Club will judge each car at The National Hotel. Judges will pick two winners for the best-decorated car. The first prize winner will receive a $350 gift card from Les Schwab Tire Center. The second-prize winner will receive $100 in cash donated by Edward Jones. The parade ends at Main Street and Highway 49/88.

Children can also post photos of their costumes on the Amador Ledger-Dispatch website to enter a virtual costume contest. Members of Soroptomist International of Amador County will judge each costume and award $20 gift cards to ten winners at each grade level from preschool through eighth grade.

“We wanted to find a way to be creative and keep this long-standing tradition going,” Knittel said, as well as check all the boxes required by health officials to keep families safe. You can get more information by calling Knittel at 209-712-4512 or e-mailing him.

What’s more, expect news from the Jackson Lions Club about 2021 events soon. “We’re going to keep being creative,” Knittel noted. “and help the community make memories at Lions Club events.”

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